Taco Towne, Vermillion, SD

In early 1970, Charlie and Pam Jacobsen and business partners Elmer and Bev Mount bought a former pizza place and turned it into one of the most popular venues for rock and roll in southeastern South Dakota.

University of South Dakota students flocked into Taco Towne to hear area bands. Taco Towne also hosted class reunions and fraternity/sorority exchanges, but it was the Friday and Saturday night dances that made it popular.

Rod Jerke remembers, “I played there with both the Handy Brothers Chessman Show and with the Pilgrims. It was always a fun time.” Boyd Bristow first played there with a Sioux City group called the Franklin Carter Blues Band. Chateaux, a Vermillion band, was a regular. The ‘70s Iowa Flippers loved stops from their national tour to play Taco Towne. Blueberry Buckle, Wrought Iron, Zero Ted, the Apostles, Those of Us, Kid Sparrow, the Totally Amazing Bitzko Band, Dry Mustard, the Wizards of Ooze and many others played there as well.

Another favorite band was called Lovin’ Blue. Unfortunately it was that band’s equipment that was destroyed in a major fire on April 26, 1970, only months after the business opened. Insurance covered the losses, and Taco Towne re-opened within weeks. The venue did not have a stage, so the bands played from the tile floor.

Food was available to customers. The Jacobsens and Mounts served delicious pizza, and Pam Jacobsen says the chiliburgers were popular, too.

But the staple that customers remember best is the great music served up at Taco Towne. The owners weren’t afraid to find the best bands possible.

Taco Towne became a Pizza Ranch in late 1973.